Happier, Healthier Learning Environments

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Sustainable Energy Solutions in K-12 Schools

The new $39 million Wydown Middle School in the School District of Clayton just completed by S. M. Wilson & Co. is a showcase for new energy saving innovations and sustainability practices that are coming to the K-12 public school marketplace. Reducing energy consumption and conserving natural resources are high economic and educational priorities for today’s public schools. The ideas and innovations built into Wydown Middle School have created a dynamic learning environment for today’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum.

A large array of solar panels on the gymnasium roof provides 25,000 watts of electricity to the school on an ongoing basis, which is enough electricity to power 42 refrigerators. In addition, a variety of energy efficient HVAC equipment and systems are installed throughout the building, including sensors for heating and cooling efficiencies and digital lighting controls that reduce energy consumption. The building was designed so that 75 percent of all classroom space receives natural light. This reduces the need for artificial light and results in additional energy use reduction. And the use of low flow plumbing fixtures throughout the school reduces water usage.

The school also features a ventilation system that exceeds indoor air quality standards. A CO2 monitoring system and the use of low VOC-emitting materials create a cleaner environment and promote better health and higher student achievement.

The new school is built on the same site as the former school, and was built in three phases to coincide with the phased demolition of the former school. This phasing also ensured a safe and uninterrupted flow of education for students and teachers throughout the construction process.

“Watching this new building become part of our reality has been like watching a dream come to life right before your eyes. All the parties involved, the architects, the construction management group and the school district had one common goal throughout – to work together to create the best learning environment for the students of Wydown Middle School,” stated Wydown’s Principal, Mary Ann Goldberg.

The school was designed by Arcturis+Neumann Monson, a collaborative effort between St. Louis-based Arcturis, as the Architect of Record, and Neumann Monson Architects of Iowa City, IA as the Design Architect. The entire project was built to be LEED gold certified.